How To Play Brown Eyed Girl | Van Morrison


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How To Play Brown Eyed Girl | Van Morrison

Picture of by Darius Chrobak

by Darius Chrobak

Guitar Couch Lessons

The 1960’s hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison is one of the classic guitar songs that is great to have in your repertoire. The song features an instantly recognisable intro part, catchy melody and lyrics. It was released in 1967 on the album called “Blowin’ Your Mind!’ which was Van Morrison’s first album as a solo artist.

The album cover was released with a psychedelic look and apparently really freaked Van Morrison out 🙂 In our modern Spotify / Apple Music world, it is one of the most downloaded and streamed songs of the entire 1960’s decade. You can read more about the song here:…

Song Structure:

Verse: G / C / G / D
Chorus: C / D / G / Em / C / D / G / D

Changing from the chord C to G is always a little bit tricky for beginner guitarists. This is why ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ is a perfect song to practice improving these chords, as we will switch back and forth between these two shapes quite a lot. So, let’s get into it!

A Few Tips On How To Practice "Brown Eyed Girl"

As mentioned earlier, the C and G chords will be a potentially tricky spot, so make sure you are comfortable switching between these two before progressing too deep into the song. As a first step, you might want to practice finding the C chord – hold the chord for a brief moment, relax your hand, shake off any tension, and repeat it again a few times. Do the same for the G shape.

The second step will be to practice switching from C to G over and over again, but without any complex strummings. Find the C chord, strum it once, go to the G chord, strum it once, and repeat that a few times.

As an additional step, you might also have a look at the song ‘Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton, as it features a combination of G to D chords and might be an excellent complementary chord workout for you. Here is the link: How To Play Wonderful Tonight

The verse section consists of the chord progression G / C / G / D, and once you are comfortable switching between them, you might try to apply a strumming pattern to it. A great starting place would be to simply strum each chord down – down – up, and leave some space at the end to give yourself a chance to change the chords.

My favourite way of practising chords is to put on the backing track and then strum each chord once (literally just one strum), making sure I'm on time with the chord change at the beginning of the bar. Once the chord is in place, I try to remember what is coming next and visualise it. That way, I'm always mentally prepared for the upcoming chords, which helps to transition between them much smoother.

The full strumming is explained in the video above, so please make sure you watch it, but if strumming causes you a little bit of a headache, you might want to look at my Strumming Secret Series, which is a part of my membership access on the Guitar Couch website. Here is the link: Online Guitar Lessons

The chorus of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ features the following chord progression: C / D / G / Em / C / D / G / D . Have you noticed that if you ignore the E minor chord for a second, the rest of the chords in the chorus are the same as the verse, just in a different order? The great news is that the strumming pattern is identical to the verse, so that part of the song should feel familiar.

How To Play The Intro To "Brown Eyed Girl"

‘Brown Eyed Girl’ has a very cool intro that I am sure you’re looking forward to learning. It combines double stops (two notes played simultaneously) on the strings E and B (the first and the second string).

The first shape is two adjacent notes on the strings one and two, and the second shape consists of two notes with an empty fret between them. We will move these two shapes up and down the neck, so let’s have a look at how to finger them.

For the first shape, the most optimal would be to use the first finger on the seventh fret of the E string and the second finger on the eighth fret B string. And then, for the second shape, use finger one on the eighth fret of the E string and the third finger on the tenth fret of the B string. 

Now, let’s have a look at the extracted first bar:

Here is the order of our mini shapes – we start with the shape one on the seventh fret E string. Then we will switch to shape two and move it from the eighth fret (first finger position) to the tenth and back to the eighth. We finish this bar with the first shape on the seventh fret once again.

It is probably much easier to watch it on the video, but at least you also have it written here if you want to quickly have a look at how it’s done.

Here is our full solo intro:

How do you like ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison? Is it a song you have always wanted to learn, or is it something new to you? Let me know; I’d love to hear from you, especially if this helped you to learn this great song.

Darius | Guitar Couch Lessons


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  1. I remember listening to brown-eyed girl in high school, yikes!
    Really appreciate the music notation. I’m ALWAYS inclined to follow guitarist who produce guitar sheet music – tabs along with their lessons. I’m going to subscribe. THANKS!


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